Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Snow is Always Smoother . . .

 * This is a re-post from January 2009. I liked it then and it's still true now, so I thought I'd share it again! *

You know what they say -

"The snow is always smoother on the other side of the fence". (Don't they?)

Here's a picture I took today over the fence, of our next door neighbor's back yard:

And here's a picture of our backyard:

Our neighbors are in their early 60's and their children are grown and out of the house. Their backyard looks peaceful and serene. Our yard doesn't. Our yard has obviously seen lots of activity - trampled on over and over again by 3 boys and a dog. Some days I look over the fence and envy the calm.

I know, I know; some day our yard will look like our neighbor's, and I'll eventually find myself missing those footprints all over the back yard . . .

But still, for now, can't I sneak over the fence and live over there every once in a while?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Dry Ranch Dressing Mix

My youngest loves Ranch dressing - on salads, with chicken nuggets, and for dipping carrots.  He wants "carrots and Ranch" almost every day. But I was not impressed with some of the ingredients in his Hidden Valley addiction.

Thus began a search for a homemade recipe that he would like.  I first tried 2 recipes from friends, but neither were quite right and Aaron didn't like them. Finally I found a recipe for a dry mix. After tweaking the amounts of the perishable ingredients, I found success! Here's my slight adaptation of the recipe, found at

Dry Ranch Dressing Mix

1/2 cup dry buttermilk powder
1 Tb dried parsley, crushed
1 tsp dried dill weed
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp dried minced onion
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp black pepper

* Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender. Blend until well blended and powdery.

* Store in container in refrigerator.

To use mix
* Combine 1 Tb dry mix with 1/4 c milk and 1 c mayonnaise. Mix well and keep refrigerated.

The original recipe had more milk in it, and it came out very runny.  So you can adjust the amount of seasoning mix, milk, and mayo to your liking. The buttermilk powder made a big difference in taste compared to recipes without it. You can find it in the baking isle.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

It's a New Day!

Okay, I think I'm over my New Year's Bloggy Identity Crisis!

I have a problem where my mind is frequently over-active and dreams up way more ideas than I could ever follow through on. I have to be careful not to feel like I'm failing when I can't keep up with my ever-running, unrealistic idealism. Especially so when my health dictates my activity level.

I'm inspired by many blogs I read regularly. Some showcase amazing photos. Some share delicious recipes. Some are homeschoolers who have good ideas and seem to be way more accomplished than we are. Some are great writers. Some are incredibly creative and crafty. Some decorate their home just like I would if I had the money or the 2-story farmhouse I dream about. I'm encouraged and inspired by them in so many ways. However, enjoying them can easily lead to comparing or wishing that I could blog like "that". I have to reign myself in and remind myself that my blog is just that - MY blog. It should portray who I am and what I do and nothing else. No worried about what it isn't.

I really do enjoy blogging.  It's a good outlet for my wandering thoughts, a place to post photos, a way to connect with others, and a way to reach out of the somewhat small boundaries of this mom who is home a lot with her kids. I've met some kindred spirits in blog-land. Those are the reasons I began blogging, and the reasons I will continue. I guess I just needed to re-focus.

I also remembered this week something that my favorite Bible study author and teacher, Beth Moore, once said. She said that God wants us to turn our miseries into ministries.  That is one way He redeems our trials. With that in mind, I'd like to blog about my trials and what I've learned from them as I feel inspired, hopefully in a way that is encouraging to others and also honoring to God.

So here's to a new year of blogging and living and learning.  Thanks for coming along with me on my journey!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

What To Do

Sorry it's been a little quiet around here ...

First there was a bad cold the week before Christmas that put me down for several days.

Next was a flurry of activity in preparation for a family Christmas in Tennessee.

And then it was five fun-filled days enjoying Christmas in TN.

After that (and actually, by the last two days of our vacation), my cold relapsed.

And then the New Year came, with me still blowing me nose and feeling sick.

Finally, I went to the doctor and got antibiotics for a sinus infection (no wonder I still wasn't feeling well!)

So now it's January 12th. My sinus infection and cold have finally cleared up. I had a couple good days, but now again, I'm still not feeling 100%, probably because illness can set off my chronic health symptoms.

When I don't write on my blog for a while, it calls to me, "Chris! You've been ignoring me!"  And I feel disappointed with myself because I'm "supposed" to be posting but I just don't feel like it or have the mind to.

Which has led to several days of thinking and praying about my blog.  Should I continue? Should I give it up, so I don't feel like I'm failing when I don't post very often? Should I just blog whenever I can, and not worry about it when I don't?

And also, what is my purpose in blogging?  I'd been a reader of blogs long before I started my own. Which is why I started mine, because I like how the blog-world connects people of like minds. I thought it would be fun to share some of my self and my world. However, I enjoy blogs have a more specific focus than "here's what happened this week"; so I'd like mine to go beyond that also.

I've tried not to focus too much on my health issues, because I didn't want to come across as complaining, or woe-is-me. I haven't posted much about homeschooling either because I don't feel like we do anything spectacular or out of the ordinary that would be of great interest or help to other homeschoolers.

Yet, homeschooling and my health are a huge part of my life; they are my life. Again, that leaves me wondering about my purpose in blogging. What might God desire of my blogging? If I post more about my health struggles and somehow managing to homeschool in spite of them, can I do it in a way that God could use to be encouraging to other moms in a similar boat?

Parenting and being a mom was also a big struggle for me for the first several years. Should I go back and sift through the lessons I learned along the way, and share those? Perhaps that could be helpful to younger moms? But then I doubt myself, that I don't really have anything "worthy" enough to say that hasn't already been heard. And there are much better writers out there anyway.

Any thoughts? Or feedback?  I guess I'm in limbo here, and need to continue seeking what God thinks about my blog. Because that's the real purpose.